Trolling (at the bar)
A Found Poem for the Lubber
The Wise Fisherman’s Encyclopedia
William H. Wise & Co., Inc., NY: 1951
There is more to trolling
than just cruising around.
At spawning time, a general movement
of adults. Keep your eyes open.
Sharp eyes pick up gulls
working on bait –
strange ripples in the water
not quite caused by wind –
fill the fish box.
Keep at it.
Too many are discouraged after a few hours.
There can be plenty of fish under your boat
without your catching one.
Try different lures, at various depths,
stick to it some more.
[Under L for lures, we find] Live Bait,
Lay [as in] lay to, lay down, and laid up.
Lunate: Crescent or moon-shaped
(see also Anatomy of Fish).
Lunge, Lurch, and Lure:
a term understood to mean
artificial fly (which see) or bait
used to attract fish. For elaboration,
see Bait Casting, Eelskin lure, Tackle,
Jig, and the Revolving Wiggler,
among the most successful
of modern lures.
If all there was to fishing was catching fish
it would be poor sport.
It’s uncertainty, the expectancy
that makes it such fun.
On Reading Didion’s The White Album
blood and bread
Nancy’s problems not children, nor
the bullet that would afflict her husband
but assumptions of privilege
(a house where nobody lives
borrowed for a time like dinner gowns)
juxtaposed against uncertainty –
unsure of seating charts, the advance team
who left her clueless on the protocol
of communion by intinction at a church
they would visit on Sunday.
A porch chair in late summer.
I can hardly focus for a white acid sun
irritant yippers behind a fence,
the insistent whine of grass trimmers
somewhere to my left, and butterflies
impelled to migrate in a hurry
perhaps forewarned, as all of us were
during the Cold War. The big blow
with its fireball flowers practiced
its nuclear dance out by the reservation
only lizards and Indians to notice
a rising cloud. So many mistakes,
accidental troubles along the way.
(Who’s to say which keeper of keys
would set things loose?)
We were young.
Bad girls with ankle bracelets sneaked
cigs behind the gym. Good girls in white
socks and penny loafers wanted to be
bad girls with ankle bracelets.
We joined sororities and book clubs,
watched Nancy’s man grow famous.
Raised him up to be Jack the Giant Killer.
He could throw touchdowns, ride horses,
bluff Russians to demolish a wall
but all that came later. Nancy learned
to borrow dresses like a good Presbyterian,
never doubting her ascendancy -- nor did we.
This light smells like blood, spilled as though
it were nothing, ink on a page.
Sandra Soli publishes in every genre except the novel. Former teaching artist and poetry columnist, she received, among other honors, an Oklahoma Book Award and two nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Her article "Prose Poetry: Fish or Fowl?" was featured in Poet's Market. Sandy authored two poetry chapbooks and a workbook for aspiring memoir writers, Who Will Tell the Story if Not You? Writer, editor, and biblioholic, she lives in Edmond, Oklahoma.